In Vestavia Hills, Alabama, many of the dilemmas that sometimes come with a will, such as would-be beneficiaries challenging its validity, or devises which don't make it clear who gets what (resulting in costly and time-consuming litigation) can be avoided if the will is well-drafted in the first place.
The process of drafting and executing a will can be very simple with the average estate which has only a moderate amount of assets held in only a few locations (a couple bank accounts, a house, maybe a stock portfolio). This is also true if the decedent simply wants to give their property to a few immediate family members, without setting up an intricate trust arrangement.
However, even if the will is comparatively simple, some problems which are very easy to avoid can still complicate the process. A knowledgeable Vestavia Hills, Alabama wills and trusts lawyer can help you avoid these problems.
Many problems with wills can be caused by failing to follow the proper formalities. These requirements are not very intricate, but they need to be followed scrupulously. If not, the will might be found to be invalid. In almost every state, the will must be witnessed and signed by two disinterested parties, and must include a clear statement that the document is, in fact, a last will and testament.
Holographic Wills in Vestavia Hills, Alabama
In some states, testators are permitted to make "holographic wills." This is a will which the testator hand-writes, in his or her own handwriting. Such wills do not need to have any witnesses to be given effect.
Assuming that a holographic will is valid in your state, a court will probably interpret it very liberally, acknowledging the fact that it probably wasn't written by a lawyer. This is to make it much easier to truly give your wishes effect.
You should know, however, that holographic wills aren't recognized in many states. If you live in one of these states, you're still free to hand write your will, but, in order to be valid, it must be accompanied by all the formalities required by the laws of the state it is made in.
If your state permits them, a holographic will might be a good way to go in some cases. For example, if you don't have an unusually large amount of money, and simply want to leave your assets to close family members, or even to a single person (such as a spouse), it probably wouldn't be a problem. However, even in cases like this, it's never a bad idea to make a will with the help of a lawyer.
How Can A Vestavia Hills, Alabama Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities required in drafting wills, it's never a bad idea to have a knowledgeable Vestavia Hills, Alabama attorney help in making your will. Even if your will is quite simple, and you have all the formalities figured out, it's still easy to make mistakes without a good once-over by a professional.